Lying is wrong almost all the time. And you certainly should never lie about your skills or experience in a job interview. Honesty is almost always the best policy. But…there are a few instances where fibbing can’t hurt—and might actually help you land the job.
It’s okay to leave one or two jobs off your resume. Maybe you weren’t there very long. Maybe you were fired or doubt that you would get a stellar reference. It’s okay to keep these quiet. Your resume doesn’t have to be a comprehensive list of your career whereabouts, just what’s most relevant and useful to your interviewer.
2. How much you loved your former coworkers
Even the mean girls and the power-hungry jerks and the spotlight-hoggers and the total bores. It’s okay to lie and say you were honored to work with such a great group. You’ll come off as more of a team player. Accentuate the positive! They’ll never know you used to grumble about everyone behind their backs the minute you got home.
3. Your saintly interests
Nobody’s interests really consist in charity work, volunteering, and fine arts museums. When it comes down to it, most of us would honestly report TV-watching, martinis, and trashy magazines. But it’s okay to be a little aspirational. Don’t stretch yourself too far: stick to an aspirational, but true, version of yourself.
4. How fabulous your former boss was
Your last boss was actually a fire-breathing dragon. But there is zero profit in bad-mouthing him to your new potential boss. Try to pick a few good qualities you can mention, and, if all else fails, say you learned a lot.
5. Your reason for changing jobs
You’re bored out of your mind and you detest your coworkers. Or your company is rumored to be downsizing, and you want to skip town with the rats. Whatever the real reason, it’s totally fine to say “I’d love to stay where I am, but this opportunity is just too dazzling to pass up.” They’ll be flattered, and you won’t look like a quitter who abandons ship at first sign of trouble.
6. Your greatest weakness
Everybody fudges this one. Don’t share your real worst traits. Pick something (again, at least sort of truthful) that you can turn into a positive of sorts. Emphasize how you’re working constructively to turn that weakness into a strength. They’ll be impressed with your self-awareness and won’t notice that you’ve just flipped the table on them with their own question.
Moral of the story? Don’t shoot yourself in the foot in the interests of abject honesty, but do keep mostly to the truth. It’ll be easier to remember and hold to what you said.